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New State Study Demonstrates Net Metering Benefit for Ratepayers; What is the impact in your state? January 23, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Net Metering.
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Original article: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2013/01/new-state-study-demonstrates-benefit-to-ratepayers-of-net-metering??cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-January23-2013

By Andrew Savage, January 21, 2013

The body of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of solar net metering to retail electric customers continues to grow.

From California and Texas to New York and now Vermont, there is a growing stack of reports that make the financial case for greater deployment of distributed solar generation and net metering.

On the same day that a Vote Solar Initiative report was released, which found that in California solar net metering provides over $92 million in annual benefits to ratepayers, a newly published Vermont report echoed the same growing body of evidence that documents the benefits of solar net metering.

A recent report on New York found that solar PV delivers between a 15-cent and 40-cent benefit to ratepayers and taxpayers.  Another report from Texas by the analysts at the The Brattle Group found that the total customer benefits of adding solar capacity in the Lone Star State was valued at more than $520 million.

The Vermont legislature charged the report author, the Vermont Department of Public Service, with determining if there is a cross-subsidization with net metering and other retail customers and to examine any benefits or cost of net metering systems to the distribution and transmission system. The report found that solar net metering is a net-positive for the state — a 4-kW PV fixed system provides a 4.3-cent net societal benefit per kWh generated, and a 4-kW 2-axis PV system provides a net 3.3-cent benefit.  A similar conclusion was made for 100kW net metered PV systems.  The report addresses the specific ratepayer benefit as well as the statewide, societal benefit.

This conclusion comes even with Vermont’s statewide solar incentive program factored in, which provides an average 20-cent per kilowatt hour value of solar, or an average solar incentive across the state of 5.3 cents above residential retail electric rates.

The report outlines the calculable benefits of solar net metering, primarily:

  • Avoided energy costs, including costs of line loses, capacity costs, and avoided internalized greenhouse gas emission costs
  • Avoided regional transmission costs
  • Avoided in-state transmission and distribution costs
  • Solar’s coincidence with times of peak demand and market price suppression

An additional benefit explicitly not covered in the study is the economic multiplier associated with the local investment and job creation created from the local manufacturing and installation of net metering systems.  The report also didn’t cover the statewide benefit of retaining more dollars locally.

Net metering in Vermont has grown by a factor of four since 2008, with solar accounting for 88 percent of all net metering systems.  According to the report, most of these systems, or 59 percent, are less than 5kW, and 85 percent are under 10kW.  (Vermont recently passed a efficient, first-in-the-nation solar registration program for permitting solar systems 10kW and below.)  Even with the growth of net metering in the state, net metering systems still produce less than 1 percent of the 35 GWh of power Vermont uses each year.

Andrew Savage is on the management team of AllEarth Renewables, the Vermont manufacturer of the dual-axis AllSun Tracker.

WNDU: Hydroelectric turbine saving South Bend on electric costs; More hydroelectric potential for South Bend September 11, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Michigan Power Company (I&M), Net Metering, Uncategorized.
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Click this link for video from WNDU Channel 16 > Hydroelectric turbine saving South Bend on electric costs.

Reporter: Frank WaughEmail; Aug. 22, 2012

Better late than never, a hydroelectric turbine purchased in the early 80’s, was finally installed in Downtown South Bend. Now this new installation will soon be saving money for the city.

After sitting since 1983, in a warehouse, this bright blue turbine has found it’s home.

“We took it out of storage in early 2011, refurbished the unit,” says Jon Burke the Municipal Energy Director “It is exciting to stand here now and know that, the turbine is down in this pin stock right now and it is going to be working for the city very soon.”

The turbine was installed along the fish ladder in Seitz Park, while it is in place there is still a good deal of work that must be done.

“There are a lot of little bugs we need to work out,” says Burke. “We will start up the commissioning system over the next two to three weeks and provided we don’t run into anymore unknowns we have had plenty of those so far.”

While some of the bugs have slowed the project, some have actually been a good thing.

“Originally the paper work on the turbine called it a 45 kilowatt unit,” explains Burke. “When we took the turbine in to have it refurbished we discovered it was a 62.9 kilowatt unit, which is significantly more power. That lead us to have to redesign a number of things with our distribution network and our arrangement with I&M we had to upgrade the capacity of this unit.”

That power will be put to good use in Howard Park, powering the Human Rights Building, the ice rink, the rec center and even the lights along the East Race and there will still be some left over.

“We are going to produce about 100,000 kilowatt hours a year more than we are going to need,” says Burke. “We are doing what is called a net-metering agreement with Indiana Michigan Power. And the net-metering agreement allows us to put energy directly into the grid or use it in our facility either way. At times when we are producing more energy than we need that extra energy will go into the grid and we will be credited for that energy. At times when we are using more energy than we are actually producing, we will be drawing down the credits in the grid.”

That agreement will allow the city to use every drop of energy and stack up some serious savings.

“That is worth about $40,000 a year to the city,” explains Burke.

So you might be wondering what this cost the city. Total installation costs were around $268,000. A federal grant covered all but $26,000; a cost that John says will be recouped in six to seven months from the use of the turbine.

More hydroelectric potential for South Bend < Click this link to view another WNDU video.

Reporter: Frank WaughEmail; Sept. 7, 2012

A hydroelectric turbine purchased in the 1980s has finally been installed in Setiz Park and will soon be cranking out energy savings of around $40,000 a year for the city. That might just be the tip of the iceberg for hydroelectric power in South Bend.

“South Bend has a rich history of hydropower,” says Jon Burke the Municipal Energy Director. “The early industry along the East Race was powered along the East Race with hydropower and it has been a long time since we have actually utilized hydropower along the river here in South Bend. So this is step one in the process to get the small turbine in.”

Step two is a little larger and like the original turbine it was started back in the early 80s.

“Around the same time the Fish Ladder was built the city had the foresight to secure and exemption from the federal energy regulatory commission that allows the city to build a 1.7 megawatt unit, right here along the Seitz Park area,” explains Burke.

That is about 27 times larger than the recently installed unit, and the means a lot more power.

“That is a utility scale hydro installation and that will produce enough power potential to power the cities 10 largest buildings,” says Burke. “It is worth about a million dollars a year to the city in energy costs. So my hope is that this being step one that we can find a way as a city to move to step two and build this larger facility.”

“I see great potential in expanding on this great experiment,” says Mayor Pete Butigieg. “We have this turbine here. It is enough to power a few buildings, a no brainer for the city. Taking it to the next level could mean a million dollars a year and good clean energy. We have got this great river, there just aren’t a lot of cities that have a river running through the middle of them and have this opportunity with the regulatory exemptions, so we have to pull together some money before we can make it happen but if we get it right we are going to make that money back for the city and I am very excited about the potential to do it.”

As for the price tag of making it power multiple buildings.

“It is going to take some creativity,” says Burke. “It is in the neighborhood of a $15 million project, so we have to be creative to figure out a business model that works. But it is something that I really feel that we have to do.”

“Once we have the funding together it takes two to three years to actually make it happen,” says Mayor Butigieg. “There are a lot of bits and pieces when you get into utilities, it gets unbelievably complicated. So we have got to make sure we can do it right. There is a feasibility study going on right now, funds were committed to that. That is helping us charge away forward. I tell yeah, it can’t come soon enough, based on what we are already seeing with this small hydro project.”

Original plans for the project place the facility over Setiz Park. Burke says they would remove the park, and then rebuild the park on top of the turbines. While a majority of the facility would be underground, the original plans did call for a walkway that would allow the public to view the turbines on one side and the Fish Ladder on the other side.

California virtual net metering legislation dies in committee; Should Indiana consider virtual net metering? September 8, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Net Metering, Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

So why should we care about a California virtual net metering bill? First, this article does a good job of explaining the rationale for virtual net metering. Second, it brings into the limelight additional net metering issues which Indiana and other states need to address. This blog will attempt to bring you additional articles addressing emerging issues and barriers to renewable energy and distributed generation. Should Indiana consider virtual net metering? Tell me what you think.

Laura Ann Arnold

California solar bill will not see the light of day

05.  September 2012 | Markets & Trends, Global  PV markets| By:  Cheryl Kaften

Legislation that would have provided customers of  California’s three major utilities – Southern California Edison (SCE) San Diego  Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) – with  access to virtual, net-metered photovoltaic energy was blocked in the state’s  Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce on August 31.

According to a statement by California State Senator Lois Wolk  (Democrat-Davis), who authored SB843, although there was “broad support for the  bill, including that of major investor-owned utility, SDG&E,” the measure  was defeated following “intense lobbying” by the other two utilities, which,  Wolk claimed, “control the committee.”

“There was an agreement between the Assembly Speaker, the Committee Chair,  and me that would have scaled the bill down to a pilot program under the Public  Utilities Commission’s guidance and oversight,” explained Senator Wolk. However,  she said, “That agreement wasn’t honored and the bill died in committee,  depriving the public of innovative energy policy in line with Governor Brown’s  initiatives.”

E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs, a group of U.S. businesses that championed  the bill, said it would have provided critical support for the state’s renewable  energy industry – noting that, although rooftop solar is a strong and  growing business in California, at least 75% of households cannot participate  because:

  • They are renters and don’t own their own roofs;
  • They do not have strong enough credit ratings to finance the installations;  or
  • Their roofs are too small, or do not receive sufficient sunlight to make  such a project feasible.

SB843, the business advocates said, would have provided “all of these  California households and businesses the ability to voluntarily buy up to 100  percent renewable power from a shared facility in their utility’s territory and  receive a credit on their current utility bill.”

The bill was not limited to solar generation; it would have applied to any  renewable facility that produced up to 20 MW of energy. “Three out of four  Californians are currently unable to take advantage of affordable and clean,  renewable energy through the state’s renewable power programs,” Wolk said.  “SB843 would have changed that, giving consumers the opportunity to save on  their energy bill while encouraging more investment and creating thousands of  jobs in an important sector of our state’s economy – all without spending  any state funds or shifting costs to consumers who chose not to participate.”

The bill was sponsored by the City of Davis and Superintendent of Public  Instruction, Tom Torlakson, and supported by a broad coalition that included  business, school, and environmental groups, affordable housing advocates; as  well as the Department of Defense (DOD) and many local governments.
“There was a tremendous effort on the part of the bill’s sponsors and  supporters, particularly the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, DOD, U.S. Navy,  Vote Solar, Clean Path Ventures, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Recurrent Energy,  and Renewable Funding. I want to extend my personal thanks to all those who gave  their time and effort in a last stitch effort to get this measure to the  Governor. Unfortunately, the coalition of support behind this measure was simply  no match for the high paid lobbyists and the campaign contributions of these  monopoly corporations,” Wolk concluded.

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/california-solar-bill-will-not-see-the-light-of-day_100008292/#ixzz25sErgfa1

Making Projects Happen with Group Net Metering Policies: Indiana Needs Net Metering Changes; What about your state? August 9, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Net Metering, Uncategorized.
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This article from Renewable Energy World (REW) focuses on another policy concerning net metering that Indiana and other states need to address. It is the issue of aggregate net metering, virtual net metering, group net metering or community net metering. Who wants to join with me to work on this issue in Indiana?

Laura Ann Arnold

By Andrew Savage   |  August 7, 2012

Almost every state in the country has net metering laws on the books.

But only a few states allow a lesser-known policy that is critical for the expansion of distributed renewables, particularly community-scale solar — that’s aggregate, virtual, or group net metering.  And there are a lot of good reasons to want to see its expansion.

The basic premise is that the output of a renewable system can be shared among accounts.  An extension of this policy is allowing multiple electric customers to share in a net metered system’s output.  This is often referred to as “community net metering,” “aggregated net metering,” “virtual net metering,” or “group net metering.”

However, whatever you want to call the policy, looking at the small number of states that permit such net metering reveals a myriad of unnecessary exclusions and caveats which limit their effectiveness — and the amount of net-metered solar.

For example, New Jersey’s policy adopted this month is restricted only to public projects.  Pennsylvania’s version is called “aggregate virtual net metering” and is limited to individual customers who own multiple meters within a two mile radius.  California allows for sharing of credits for multi-tenant properties and also for local governments, but only if all participating accounts receive a time-of-use rate.

But for something shared so virtually as an electron, one needs to ask why these policies include so many unnecessarily restrictive caveats based on things like geographic distance and customer class.

It’s an important enough issue that the net metering report, Freeing the Grid, recognizes aggregate and group net metering policies as key ranking indicator when evaluating states.

Vermont has the most advanced and solar-conducive policy.  It started with the concept of allowing multiple farm buildings to join a “group” for on-site generation, Vermont’s expanded “group net metering” law allows offsite generation up to 500 kW (2.2 MW for military). The only requirement is that members be in the same electric utility.  That’s it.  Groups may be mixed among residential, commercial, and government customers.  Local utilities must reward credits and bill net metering customers within a group directly.  And, notably, Vermont’s law recently provided time-of-use customers a consistent method for crediting their net metered production.  The system has proven efficient, easy, and most importantly encourages net metering.

Why is getting this policy right so important?  The expansion of policies like group net metering help dissolve the traditional boundaries of distributed electric generation and are critical for facilitating the expansion of solar net metering.

Choosing the most productive sites:  Group net metering allows installers, investors, and customers to choose the best possible site for a renewable energy system.  Rather than being boxed in to a less-than-adequate roof or a geographic space too small or too shaded for the most cost-effective net metered projects, group net metering allows for ideal siting, making for a better investment with higher financial returns.  Further, group net metering allows for greater flexibility when considering local planning, zoning, or historical requirements.  Take for example two homeowners with inadequate roofs for solar.  Under Vermont’s group net metering law, those two homeowners could easily join with a third neighbor or businesses and share the energy from a solar tracker installed at a more productive, economical site.

Achieving economies of scale: While traditional net-metered solar often makes a lot of financial sense, group net metering laws allow for economies of scale in larger project development.  According to the Department of Energy, the average residential cost of solar is approximately $6/watt nationally.  Meanwhile, larger scale distributed solar projects cost $3/watt (for fixed solar) or even below.  Consider also that land values vary dramatically even within the same electric utilities, and you see how installing a site a little way down the road can also have a significant impact on financials of a project.

Creative solar finance:  Group net-metering policies facilitate community solar projects and third-party ownership models, expanding opportunities for customers.  As SunRun, Sungevity and other third-party ownership models have demonstrated, innovative solar financing has proven widely successful in deploying residential net metered solar.  This innovation continues with companies like Solar Mosaic who are creating mechanisms for “crowdfunding” projects, where individuals can directly make renewable energy investments.  Promising new initiatives are enhanced by conducive local policies.

Reduced default risk:  For states that allow third party or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) investors to offer group net metering, these policies reduce the risk to an investor because should a net metering customer suddenly not have an electric load (a school closes, for example) or not be able to pay (in the case of a bankruptcy), the PPA agreement could be fashioned so that the energy output from the project could simply be transferred to a new customer within the utility if allowed under group net metering law.

More solar for more customers:  Group net-metering policies help enable non-homeowners to invest in solar and have also facilitated the proliferation of solar programs for affordable housing tenants.  For example, California’s Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program, was designed in 2008 specifically for low income affordable housing and the California Public Utility Commission reported earlier this month that virtual net metering has allowed thousands of low income tenants to receive the direct benefits of solar as reductions in their monthly electric bills.

In sum, aggregate, virtual, and group net metering polices allow for the expansion more efficient, economical projects to provide renewable energy to an increasingly diverse customer.  It key, though, to get the policies right.

State policies and individual utilities should look hard at how to dissolve the traditional, unnecessary boundaries in the industry. Such a policy shift could quickly usher in a brighter distributed renewable energy future.

Andrew Savage is on the executive management team of AllEarth Renewables and is former deputy chief of staff to Congressman Peter Welch.


Comparison of State Net Metering Available in Freeing the Grid 2.0: Policy Report Card Goes Digital; Indiana Net Metering Gets a “B” July 16, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Net Metering, Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Blog Readers:

If you were familiar with the earlier versions of Freeing the Grid (FTG), you will love this new and improved digital version. This should make the task of explaining net metering policies to state legislators and regulators even easier now with this redesigned information. Indiana remains steady with a solid “B” Report Card on net metering since the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved new net metering rules last summer. The problem though is that these new net metering rules still only apply to the five (5) Investor-Owned Electric Utilities, namely, IPL, Duke, I&M, NIPSCO and Vectren. The most recent status reports on net metering can be found on this blog at: http://wp.me/PMRZi-oi.

But our report card grade of “B” doesn’t really tell the whole story. We still have Rural Electric Cooperatives or REMC’s that either do not have a net metering policy at all or they have what is called “net billing”. Net billing only offers customers perhaps one-third of the retail electric rate for the electricity that their solar or wind system puts back into the grid. Due to their contracts with either Hoosier Energy or Wabash Valley Power, many REMC’s cannot or will not permit net metering for systems larger than 10 kW. Some REMC’s require onerous fees as well.

So our work is not done yet on net metering here in Indiana.

Also since Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) has decided not to continue their feed-in tariff known as Rate REP, we must also address solar PV systems larger than 1 MW. At the end of a 15 year Rate REP contract with IPL, company officials suggested that these projects such as the proposed Indianapolis Airport solar farm just net meter. That presents two problems. First, the current net metering rules only allow systems up to 1 MW to net meter while the proposed solar farm at the Indianapolis Airport is 10 MW. Second, the proposed Indianapolis Airport solar farm is using a third-party leasing agreement. That’s OK under the IPL Rate REP but the IURC net metering rules currently do not permit third-party net metering. See the problem now? Our work is not done my friends.

Laura Ann Arnold

Freeing the Grid 2.0: Policy Report Card Goes Digital.

from VoteSolar, July 16, 2012

Today we launched a snazzy new interactive web version of Freeing the Grid, our policy guide that grades all 50 states on two key programs: net metering and interconnection procedures. Together these policies empower American energy consumers to use rooftop solar and other small-scale renewables to meet their own electricity needs.

Now in its sixth year of production, Freeing the Grid is intended to help state policymakers, regulators, advocates and industry stakeholders improve net metering and interconnection rules. The new web version is designed to make it easier to access, understand and share best practices and state progress on these foundational renewable energy policies.

Check out Freeing the Grid for yourself! You’ll find:

  • Animated introduction to net metering and interconnection policies;
  • Interactive U.S. map that can be filtered by year, policy and key program characteristics;
  • Grade and policy summary for each state available in printable PDF format for easy offline use;
  • Additional detailed information regarding the latest net metering and interconnection rules from DSIRE, the go-to resource for current clean energy policies nationwide;
  • Feeds of relevant blog posts and action alerts from us and our partners at IREC as well as other fancy ways you can get social with your media.

Good net metering and interconnection rules help keep energy dollars invested in the community, they put people to work wherever there’s a roof, and they reduce the need for expensive, polluting power plants – and that benefits us all. Every state has the power to change those rules and unleash that solar power potential.

While there’s still plenty of room for improvement, it’s exciting to see states of all shapes, sizes and political persuasions already making real renewable progress. Check for yourself which states are head of the class and which deserve a detention when it comes to their renewable policies.

Laurel Varnado, representing our partners on the project, the good folks at IREC said, “Freeing the Grid is a step-by-step guide for making all 50 states clean energy leaders. With this new web-friendly format, we have made it even easier for states to adopt policy best practices and continue to drive American renewable energy progress.”

Hear hear!

Like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill, net metering gives renewable energy customers fair credit on their utility bills for valuable clean power they put back on the grid. Net metering best practices have evolved to include virtual net metering, meter aggregation and other innovative community shared models.

Interconnection procedures are the rules and processes that an energy customer must follow to be able to “plug” their renewable energy system into the electricity grid. In some cases, the interconnection process is so lengthy, arduous and/or expensive that it thwarts the development of clean energy altogether. A straightforward interconnection process can cut through unnecessary red tape.

We produce Freeing the Grid in partnership with IREC and the North Carolina Solar Center, which manages the DSIRE database. We’re proud to add that its grading methodology was also adopted for use in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, which aims to reduce the cost of going solar by 75% before the end of the decade.

Pulaski County (IN) School Wind Turbine is Churning; Utilizing Net Metering with NIPSCO and not Feed-in Tariff April 3, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Net Metering, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized.
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Dear Blog Readers:

The West Central School Corporation wind project apparently joins the  North Newton School Corporation in deciding to use net metering rather than NIPSCO’s feed-in tariff (FIT).

To view the earlier blog post on the West Central School Corporation wind project. please visit http://wp.me/pMRZi-wG.

Also see the blog post on the North Newton School Corporation wind project at http://wp.me/pMRZi-BU

So what does this mean for any future wind turbine projects using the NIPSCO feed-in tariff? Let me know what you think.

Laura Ann Arnold

updated: 4/3/2012 12:28:06 PM


InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

A 300 foot wind turbine project by the West Central School Corp. is delivering electricity. The school system says the turbine, built by Indianapolis-based Performance Services, is designed to eventually pay for itself, and any additional electricity will go to Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

April 3, 2012

News Release

Francesville, Indiana. West Central School Corporation (WCSC) wind turbine project is now complete and began producing electricity on Friday, March 30, 2012.

WCSC is one of the first public school corporations in Indiana to utilize net metering with Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO). The project includes one 321-foot high, 900 kW, three-blade PowerWind turbine on school property, with Performance Services serving as the design builder. The project is designed to pay for itself and at the same time significantly reduce the cost of energy at the schools, offsetting nearly 100% of the electrical bill at the campus. In doing so, the school corporation hopes to be able to maintain the existing tax rate. Over the 25-year life of the project, net revenue is expected to exceed $4 million after all project related costs.

An essential component of the wind project is a renewable energy curriculum.  Lessons plans, a K-12 curriculum map, and unique learning opportunities will be made available for K-12 students.  This project will become a real-world lab in which WCSC students will have the opportunity to learn and explore renewable energy first hand.

Tim Thoman, President of Performance Services noted, “We are excited to bring another PowerWind turbine online for an Indiana public school.  West Central has shown great leadership in their vision to reduce operational costs for their corporation over the next 25 years.  Superintendent Chuck Mellon has been patient awaiting final interconnection approval from NIPSCO.  Performance Services is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with West Central School Corporation on this important community wind project. ”

For more information about West Central School Corporation, visit


Performance Services is an Indianapolis-based design-build engineering company that specializes in constructing and renovating schools, universities and healthcare facilities to deliver optimal environments through both the Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract and Design-Build procurement methods. Innovative wind power and geothermal systems are integral to the energy services portfolio. The company has provided energy services to customers since 1998 and is the leading qualified provider of guaranteed energy savings projects and ENERGY STAR labeled schools in Indiana. To learn more, visit


PowerWind GmbH is a German OEM of onshore wind turbines (500 kW, 850 kW, 900 kW and 2500 kW) and service provider, focusing on Community-scale wind projects. These wind farms of between 1 MW and 30 MW are mostly locally owned; the energy is often consumed in the immediate vicinity of the turbines. Typical customers include local businesses, factories and farmers, regional project developers and power providers, schools and universities as well as municipalities and leisure facilities. Backed by U.S. growth investor Warburg Pincus, the company has a successful four-year operative track record in eight countries.

Source: West Central School Corp.

Coalition Supports NIPSCO Clean Energy Efforts including Feed-in Tariff and Net Metering November 17, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Net Metering, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized.
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InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

 Sierra Club Field Organizer Virginia Shannon tells Inside INdiana Business about the aim of the Clean Energy Future Coalition.

Business, labor and environmental groups have formed a coalition backing NIPSCO’s clean energy initiatives. The Sierra Club is taking the lead in supporting the company’s efforts to connect customers to solar, wind, hydro or biomass power generating systems. The coalition is also touting NIPSCO’s net metering program.

November 17, 2011

News Release

Michigan City: The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal group held a community reception and press conference on Wednesday November 16th, 2011 at the Long Beach Old School Community Center to launch the Clean Energy Future Coalition. The newly formed Clean Energy Future Coalition represents a comprehensive effort from businesses, labor groups, and environmental groups occurring throughout Indiana to move beyond burning coal to clean energy production.

“This is an exciting moment for northern Indiana with NIPSCO customers, businesses and organizations coming together to support renewable energy” said Chair of the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club Steve Francis “The Sierra Club strongly supports NIPSCO’s clean energy initiatives, with the good jobs that go with them, and will continue to collaborate with NIPSCO to move Indiana towards a clean energy future.”

NIPSCO has taken a lead in clean energy by offering two renewable energy options to its customers: a net metering program and a pilot feed-in tariff program. Both programs are designed to connect customers with solar, wind, hydro, or biomass systems to the grid and receive credit or payment for energy produced from the utility. The Clean Energy Future Coalition formed to thank NIPSCO’s CEO Jimmy Staton for creating their renewable energy programs and urging Staton to ensure NIPSCO resolves any technical issues keeping solar and wind projects from being approved and beginning.

Indiana is ranked in the top 10 states for clean energy investment and potential job creation. “Clean Energy programs, like NIPSCO’s net-metering and Feed in Tariff, will create economic opportunity to put Hoosiers back to work in the jobs and industries that will keep us competitive in the 21st century” said Regional Director of the Blue Green Alliance Tom Conway, “Clean energy investments can create good jobs, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and leave our children and grandchildren a strong economic and environmental legacy.”

Local speakers included Steve Francis, Hoosier Sierra Club Chapter Chair, Tom Conway, Regional Director for the Blue Green Alliance, Russ Draper, Renewable Energy Consultant at Home Energy LLC, and Matthew Kubik, Associate Professor at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW) and Co-Author of “The Green Age: Transforming Your Life Choices for the 21st Century”.  They addressed job creation, solar and wind energy, and the critical need and potential to move northwest Indiana forward to clean energy.

The Sierra Club also unveiled 1,000 petitions from customers thanking NIPSCO CEO Jimmy Staton for positioning NIPSCO as a leader in clean energy and urging NIPSCO to fully develop its feed-in tariff and net metering programs that will start wind and solar projects and make northern Indiana into the hub of Indiana’s clean energy economy.

“With the NIPSCO feed in tariff program being unveiled in the last few months clean energy has a bright future in Northern Indiana” said Russ Draper at Home Energy LCC of Middlebury, IN,” We have seen a definite increase in interest in the residential market, and when you can offer a business a way to help cut fixed costs and at the same time reduce their carbon footprint, that’s a win-win for everyone.”


The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign is a nationwide effort to make sure that the existing fleet of outdated coal plants gets cleaned up or phased out – and is replaced by solar and wind energy that’s ready to fill our energy needs, create new jobs, and jump-start the green economy.

For more information, visit www.beyondcoal.org

Source: The Sierra Club

Could Proposed Monthly Charge or “Stand-by” Fee for Solar and Renewables in Virginia Kill Solar? November 6, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Net Metering, Uncategorized.
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Could this type of proposed policy happen in Indiana? There are some Indiana REMC policies currently in effect on net metering that already sound similar to this proposal.  A new Indiana net metering study is due out later this month. Watch this blog for details.

Posted at 05:10 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Cost of solar energy may go up in Virginia


By Patricia Sullivan

Residents and small businesses who have installed relatively large solar arrays may find that, instead of saving money by getting off the grid, they may face a new $60 per month charge for not using power from Dominion Virginia Power’s coal-fired plants.

Dominion took its request for a “stand-by” fee to the State Corporation Commission in Richmond today. In south Alexandria, on a sunny but cold morning, local clean energy business owners and activists with the Virginia Sierra Club staged a protest.

Workers install the District’s largest set of residential solar panels in July 2011, an 11.96 kilowatt system. (Marvin Joseph – The Washington Post) “Dominion’s charge would be so high it would make it uneconomic to install these larger systems, essentially destroying the market for them,” said Ivy Main, renewable energy chair of the Virginia Sierra Club.

The charge, which the Virginia General Assembly explicitly allowed in legislation passed last year, would apply to people who generate between 10 and 20 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Those consumers see savings on their monthly bill from “net metering,” which allows their surplus power to go back into the grid, generating credits that the consumer can use to offset the cost of electricity when solar panels are not supplying power.

“The standby charge is a matter of fairness,” said David Botkins, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power. “The sun doesn’t shine at night; the wind doesn’t always blow. It would be unfair for customers who don’t have these systems to have to pay the infrastructure costs for those who do. The charge lets Dominion recover costs for serving the customers whose alternative energy system does not provide the power they need.”

Dominion said that without the standby charge, a resident with a 20-kilowatt system would be charged only about $8 per month, although the fixed infrastructure cost is the same as for any other customer. In testimony before the State Corporation Commission, a Dominion executive said the company wants to put the fee into effect April 1. The public comment period about the request is open until Dec. 1; the case number is PUE-2011-00088.

Dominion plans to shut down two older coal-fired plants, an action that drew praise from the Sierra Club activists. But they objected to the failure of the utility to invest more heavily in solar, wind and other non-fossil-fuel energy.

Dominion officials said the company has more than 400 megawatts of alternative, renewable energy in its portfolio, mainly run-of-river hydroelectric power stations and the largest wood waste power station in the United States. Dominion Virginia Power is also studying the possibility of building a 4 megawatt solar facility in Halifax County, Va. Dominion Resources, its parent company, co-owns two large wind farms in Indiana and West Virginia.

None of this matters in Virginia, the Sierra Club activists said, because that energy is not sold in the commonwealth. They said the attempt to impose such a high standby fee on consumers, and other efforts to prevent third-party providers from installing solar arrays in Dominion’s territory, are actions that speak louder than their words.

“Talk is cheap,” Main said. “Not only are they not interested in solar energy, they don’t want anyone else to do it.”

By Patricia Sullivan | 05:10 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Hundreds call for commitment to clean energy from NIPSCO; Please implement and expand NIPSCO Feed-in tariff and net metering October 14, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Net Metering, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO).
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Original article: http://chestertontribune.com/Environment/hundreds_call_for_commitment_to.htm

Sierra Club members and friends hosted a call-in day urging NIPSCO to move beyond coal to a clean energy future. Local citizens called to thank NIPSCO for taking the lead on clean energy and asking NIPSCO’s CEO James Staton to make a strong public statement committing to implementing and expanding their clean energy programs and offer alternatives to coal generated electricity and its associated impacts to human health.

“We have an incredible opportunity where our utility, NIPSCO, has taken a lead on clean energy in Indiana by launching pilot feed-in tariff and expanded net metering programs” said Michigan City Sierra Club organizer Virginia Shannon. “It is important that NIPSCO knows that as customers we support these clean energy programs and we want a strong action plan for how they will continue to move towards renewable energy.”

The club organized call-in events in downtown Michigan City and on Valparaiso University campus, where concerned citizens logged calls to NIPSCO’s CEO asking him to commit the company to implement and expand these clean energy programs.

“We urge NIPSCO to continue as a leader in Indiana,” said Shannon, “and make decisions to move towards clean energy that will help protect our communities and boost the economy- benefiting both today’s ratepayers and tomorrow’s children.”

The club is actively working to encourage NIPSCO’s CEO James Staton to publicly commit NIPSCO to implementing and expanding its pilot feed-in tariff and net metering programs.


Posted 10/10/2011

2011 Indiana Renewable Energy Association Annual Meeting and Conference Sat., Nov. 12 in Indianapolis October 14, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), IPL Rate REP, Net Metering, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized, Voluntary Clean Energy Portfolio Standard Program.
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Dear Readers:

Please join me in attending the 2011 Annual Meeting and Conference of the Indiana Renewable Energy Association on Sat., Nov. 12 in Indianapolis. Click the link below for details. As a Founder and Past President as well as a current member of the Board of Directors, I cordially invite you to attend this meeting. If you are not a member, I encourage you to become a member.  See http://www.indianarenew.org/about/become-a-member/

This will be a terrific program with updates on the two existing feed-in tariffs in Indiana offered by Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) and Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO). Plus we will be unveiling a revised PowerPoint presentation on Indiana’s new net metering regulations. We are also putting together a “not to miss” status report and discussion about renewable energy manufacturing in Indiana.

“Be there or be square!”`

Laura Ann Arnold